10 Missing, 5 Injured After USS John S. McCain Collides With Oil Tanker Near Straits Of Malacca

Update: according to the latest US Navy 7th Fleet update, ten sailors are missing and five have been injured after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant vessel, U.S. 7th Fleet Commander says in emailed statement Monday.

The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.

 

The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port.

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Two months after seven US sailors died after the US Navy Destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan, moments ago the US Navy said that in an near replica of that incident, the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision with another merchant vessel, the Alnic MC, an oil/chemical tanker east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca on August 21.

The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore. Initial reports indicate the warship sustained damage to its port side aft. No immediate word on any casualties. Search and rescue efforts are under way in coordination with local authorities, the Navy said.

Here is the latest update from the US 7th Fleet:

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21. The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.

 

The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port.

 

Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities. In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, the Republic of Singapore Navy ship RSS Gallant (97), RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (55) are currently in the area to render assistance.

 

MV-22s and SH-60s from USS America are also responding.

 

Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft. The extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined. The incident will be investigated.

CNN reports that according to preliminary information there have been minor injuries from the collision, although a full accounting of the crew is still underway.

The Straits of Malacca, located between Malaysia and Singapore, is one of the world's most important naval chokepoints; it sees the transit of over 15 million barrels of oil per day, mostly headed toward China and Japan. As we reported back in 2014, "if one were so inclined, halting seaborne trade routes at the Strait of Malacca would hobble the entire Chinese economy overnight, something the Chinese leadership is surely aware of, and is certainly considering alternatives to, such as land pipelines into Iran (via India), as well as Kazakhstan and Russia."

The warship is named after John S. McCain, Sr., and John S. McCain, Jr., both Admirals in the U.S. Navy, and the grandfather and father, respectively, of the neocon Arizona senator. This crash comes days after the top three leaders aboard the USS Fitzgerald were relieved of command. That warship was damaged badly in a collision off the coast of Japan that killed seven sailors in June.

According to MarineTraffic data, the merchant ship Alnic MC with which the guided US missile destroyer collided, is an oil/chemical tanker...

... which was built in 2008, and has a dead weight of 50,760 tons.